Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851

Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851

by John Merriman


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Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851 by John Merriman

In the first half of nineteenth century France was characterized by extraordinary regional and linguistic diversity but the state increasingly became a central force in the lives of its citizens. One way that it did so was through its police force, which, as John Merriman details in this work, developed into a modern profession during this period. He describes the careers of policemen, how they were hired, the difficulties they faced and successes they enjoyed. Through the lives of these men, he shows how the political issues of the day, as well as incompetence and imprudence, could bring a sudden, inglorious end to their work in the police. His study of these men underscores how the police helped the state affirm its primacy, winning the allegiance, or at least the obedience, of the French people. Reconstructing events from police reports, Merriman chronicles the street life of Frances's growing towns and cities through the prism of the people who enforced its laws and maintained the peace. Police were on the scene to investigate suicides and deaths; break up workers' strikes and fights among brawling drunkards; adjudicate in cases of merchants cheating customers; deal with cases of missing persons; and control political militants. He also looks at their frequent encounters while policing outsiders, such as itinerant workers, beggars, bands of traveling thieves, prostitutes, and abandoned children. Based on a wealth of primary research from over seventy archives, Merriman offers an evocative Tour de France seen through the eyes of provincial policemen and the people they encountered on their rounds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195072532
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/24/2005
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Merriman is Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University. He has written and edited many works on French and European history, including The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time, A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, The Margins of City Life: Explorations on the Nineteenth Century Urban Frontier, and The Red City: Limoges and the French Nineteenth Century.

Table of Contents

Introduction     3
The System     14
Careers     37
Getting Fired     65
Policing Politics     89
Situations irregulieres: The Comings and Goings of Ordinary People     118
Policing the Daily Lives of Local People     141
The State's Victory over Defiant Municipalities     167
Conclusion     185
Notes     189
Bibliography     235
Index     243

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